on October 14, 2010
We drove down to Islamorada Key to find one of the unique and old fashioned family style attractions still in existence.The Theater of the Sea has been around since 1946. It is not only a family friendly attraction, it is also a rehab facility for injured sea creatures. It was originally a stone quarry for the railroad, then became a crab nursery after a hurricane knocked out the railroad. Lucky for us, it was then developed into the attraction that is now in place.Enter through the gift shop...a lesson well taught by many theme parks. The shows are on a schedule that flows easily through the park. Start with the first show that is in progress when you arrive and follow the paths to succeeding shows. They are spaced about 30 minutes apart - short enough to keep the kids' attention, but long enough to actually entertain. The shows include a marine life tour (turtles, alligators and sharks), parrot show (where the birds show that they are smarter than we know), dolphin show, sea lion show, bottomless boat ride and nature walk (which ends at the small "beach"). From start to finish of your tour will be about 2 and a half hours. If you get thirsty, there is a cafe on site and water/cola machines around the turtle ponds. The only rest rooms are at the beginning of the tour, so be sure to take you little one as soon as you get in to the park. Otherwise, they will probably have to "go" when you are across the park - it is not a far walk, just makes you miss a show or two.As for interactive acts, there are a few. You can pet a baby nurse shark at the end of the marine life tour, call out suggestions at the parrot show, get kissed by a dolphin or try to ring a sea lion with a hoop. During the bottomless boat ride, you will see a dolphin jump through a hoop that is suspended inside the boat. Keep your eye out for iguanas in the trees - we saw a bright orange one!Keep in mind that this is not SeaWorld...this is a close up and informative day trip. It is memory inducing and not a hard hit on your wallet. Not too bad!!!
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